Crime & Investigation

Iganga Pupil’s Death Exposes School Horror

Education_minister_Jessica_Alupo_207444486

generic http://contactburlco.org/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php sans-serif; font-size: 9pt; line-height: 115%;”>This follows an incident on Monday where a thirteen year-old pupil in Iganga district, pharmacy was caned to death by a fellow pupil under instructions from a teacher.

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Yowaana Yakubu, a primary three pupil at Naigombwa Primary School in Iganga district was heartlessly caned to death by a fellow classmate.

ANPPCAN Uganda Chapter has called upon Police to investigate the case and make sure that the culprit is apprehended.

“Justice should be allowed to take its natural course,” says Anslem Wandega, Executive Director, ANPPCAN Uganda Chapter in a statement seen by Chimpreports on Thursday.

“This case highlights the abuse and torture children in Uganda go through to attain education,” said Mr Anslem Wandega, Executive Director, ANPPCAN Uganda Chapter.

ANPPCAN is a Pan?African organization committed to addressing the problem of child abuse and neglect and promoting the rights of children in Africa.

The group says it has since last year received and handled 247 cases of physical abuse against children in its 10 districts of operation.

Mr Wandega said: “Statistics from Police also show that 1,775 cases of torture against children were reported to police in 2011.”

In one of the cases received, a twelve-year old pupil at a Kampala school, was caned and wrestled down by a teacher. In the process the pupil lost his tooth.

A report done by ANPPCAN in 2011 shows that at least 81 percent of primary school going children suffer corporal punishment among other forms of abuse, meted on them by teachers, parents, fellow pupils among others.

The same report shows that in some schools, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and School Management Committees (SMC) assented to corporal punishment, ‘as long as the canes don’t exceed two’.

Another study by ANPPCAN and Save the Children shows that Uganda still lags behind in addressing corporal punishments which is at 84 percent.

“This means that in every 100 school going children, 84 face corporal punishments while at school,” stated Wandega.

Violence

A survey across the region shows Ethiopia at 68 percent, Tanzania at 72 percent, Rwanda at 48 percent and Somalia at 76 percent.

Mr Wandega stressed: “The use of violence in disciplining children is more of an egoistic act than a disciplinary issue.”

He added that the effects of corporal punishment on children are short term as well as long term, immense though sometimes invisible.

“Corporal punishment not only denies a child an ideal environment for education, development and growth, but also psychologically, children suffer trauma, lose confidence and self esteem which in the long run reciprocates in the behaviors of the victims,” he said.

In 2006, the Ministry of Education and Sports banned corporal punishments in schools following a campaign by pressure groups against the torturous acts committed by teachers on innocent children.

However, despite this ban, children still face the unrelenting wrath of violence in schools perpetuated mostly by teachers. “This is worsened by the fact that corporal punishment is deeply entrenched in our cultural and religious beliefs,” said Mr Wandega.

As the country prepares to celebrate the African Child Day with the theme, to eliminate harmful practices, the organization recommends the Parliament to expeditiously handle the amendments to the Children’s Act.

It believes that the children’s act amendment bill which proposes a 36 month jail term for perpetrators of corporal punishment, will act as a deterrent to corporal punishment.

“However, this is not enough and the bill has not been passed yet. In the same manner, the Ministry of Education and Sport should implement the ban on corporal punishment in schools.”

It further recommends that the National Curriculum Development Center should incorporate positive discipline in the curriculum right away from primary school level.

Criminalizing corporal punishments is a legal issue, but eliminating corporal punishments is a behavioral issue.

Wandega advises that a behavioral issue cannot be stopped by legislation alone; “It requires a persistent and continuous change in people’s attitudes and opinions. This is only possible through massive sensitization and awareness rising with government taking the lead.”

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